Premier League - Three-year ban for throwing banana at Bale

An Arsenal fan has been banned from watching football for three years after being found guilty of throwing a banana at a player.

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Gareth Bale

Thomas Flint was also fined £250 at a magistrates' court in London for the incident, which was not racially-motivated: the player he threw a banana at was Tottenham's Gareth Bale, who was taking a corner kick during the derby match at White Hart Lane on March 3.

Magistrate Rebecca Crane told Flint he had been guilty of "disgraceful behaviour" and that he had allowed his feelings about the Spurs v Arsenal derby, "to boil over into hostility for a single player and the opposing team. It could have boiled over into violence.''

Flint, a 23-year-old carpenter from Enfield, faces a further sanction, this time handed out by the club he supports: Arsenal said before the trial that they would ban him for life if found guilty.

Flint admitted the offence of "using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause alarm", and threw himself on the mercy of the court.

His solicitor, Christopher Wright, said: "He has been an avid supporter since childhood and attended many dozens, if not hundreds, of matches without incident.

"He wishes to apologise through me for his actions and utter foolishness and apologise to the opposing team. He let his own team down by his conduct.

"It is not a racially aggravated offence."

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